Early Morning Light

We began work in the garden early, because we knew it would be a hot day. In addition to all her general labours, Jackie spent much time scrubbing surfaces, such as the slippery decking, and pigeon poo on chairs and benches. My task was a certain amount of dead heading and feeding of the compost bin, but mostly, taking advantage of the diffused light before the sun had risen too high.

This deep red climbing rose was inherited from our predecessors in a sorry, straggly, state, yet now thrives under the Head Gardener’s loving care.

This New Dawn, a present from Poppy and Tess, is now beginning to scale the gazebo.

This recent purchase is a climber called Brownie, which was bred by Nola M. Simpson in New Zealand before 2009.

The first of these clematises is accompanied by a bottle brush plant and a Chilean lantern tree; the second by a Rosa Glauca.

The bottle brush plant glimpsed above is the red one now coming into bloom; the climber Wedding Day spans the Brick Path.

Most hanging baskets have now been planted up.

Several hebes are flourishing. Jackie is very pleased with this sculptural eryngium.

A variety of day lilies abound.

Readers will be aware that we have one honey-scented cordyline Australis. We didn’t know ourselves that we have three more on the west side of the garden which we have not noticed flowering before.

Pale pink Penny Lane and bright red Super Elfin have happily settled on the Gothic Arch.

Peach Abundance flowers in the Oval Bed just outside the Rose Garden, among whose residents are

an unknown deep pink climber; red Roserie de l’Hay; red and white striped Rosa Gallica and yellow Laura Ford; poppies and foxgloves; pink and yellow Summer Wine; bright red Gloriana; and golden Crown Princess Margareta.

This afternoon we spent an hour with Mum, who was in good spirits, in the garden of Woodpeckers.

Afterwards I watched a memorable Wimbledon tennis match between Angelique Kerber and Sara Sorribes Tomo.

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s delicious beef and onion pie with flavoursome Jersey Royal potatoes; crunchy carrots; tender runner beans, and meaty gravy, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cotes du Rhone.

Hunting In Pairs

“The Bishop” was the penultimate story that Anton Chekhov wrote while seriously ill with tuberculosis from which he died at the age of 44. This is a deeply emotional tale of the main character’s life and death, and his effect on family, prelates, and congregations alike. I finished reading it last night, and with it my Folio Society 1974 edition of translator Elisaveta Fen’s selection from the author’s prolific output of short stories.

Fen’s introduction to the book is informative and insightful. She includes a specific section for each story and it was interesting, after almost half a century in which to forget my first reading, to study these pieces after I had revisited their relevant story and to compare my thoughts with hers.

Nigel Lambourne’s occasional full page aquatints are well drawn, but on the heavy side for some of the characters.

It is perhaps appropriate that ‘ ‘Don’t disturb His Eminence,’ Sisoy told Maria’ should be the last of these illustrations.

Much of this warm day was spent on continuing garden maintenance consisting of weeding, pruning, dead heading; and bagging up for removal or adding to the compost bin all the resultant refuse.

Towards the end of the afternoon, while Jackie, sharing views with Florence sculpture, surveyed the fruits of our labour, I wandered round with my camera.

Hanging baskets and other containers now bear, for example, various petunias, geraniums, cineraria, calendulas, hot lips, Erigeron and their shadows.

As can also be seen in the foreground of the Florence picture above, geranium palmatum is prolific throughout the garden. One of our Rosa Glauca bushes blends nicely with the geranium in the first of this pair of photographs.

Here are a few more of our various day lilies, the first bearing a hoverfly.

I traverse paths like the one named Gazebo quite regularly. Today I also ambled along the Back Drive and selected for attention

roses white Félicité Perpétue; a yellow climber; pink Doris Tysterman; paler pink rose from Ringwood’s Pound Shop; and rich red Ernest Morse.

Wedding Day is now coming into flower on the Agriframes Arch which it shares with a deep mauve clematis.

Magpies hunt in pairs in our garden. This evening, as we took our drinks on the patio, the enjoyable, sweet, birdsong was interrupted by

the raucous rasp of these predators communicating their casing of the joint from the branches of the copper beech. All of a sudden they took wing and sped off in another direction. Soon our own avian friends came back to life.

Our dinner consisted of chicken marinaded in a tangy mango and chilli sauce topped with yellow and green peppers and onions; new potatoes; firm cauliflower, and tender green beans, with which Jackie drank more of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and I chose more of the Australian Cabernet Sauvignon.

Benches

I have now read two more of The Folio Society’s 1974 selection of Short Stories by Anton Chekhov. The first, which is not illustrated with a drawing by Nigel Lambourne, is ‘The Cross of Anna’. As Elisaveta Fen, the translator, writes ‘It is essentially a story of the destruction of innocence and the folly of so-called self sacrifice.’ One of the author’s themes seems to be the desperate sadness of the widespread custom of much older men being pledged to women barely out of their teens and consequently considered heading for the shelf. My reaction to the pun of the title is also shared by Fen who states that the female lead’s ‘husband is awarded the cross of Anna, worn on a ribbon round the neck; hence the Russian title ‘Anna around his neck’ – a Russian idiom for describing an unwanted burden.’

To my mind, the next story is a tragedy of an obsessional character who manages to transfer his own fears to those around him. Elisaveta Fen points out that ‘Contemporary reviewers enlarged on Belikov’s type’s social significance and importance, treating [him] as a representative of an influential and socially dangerous class of people who threaten and bully their colleagues into conformity with absurd restrictions on their behaviour.’ I agree with the translator that he is more worthy of pity than fear.

Illustrator Nigel Lambourne has introduced a provocative element of his own to ‘Varinka was the first woman who had treated Belikov with friendliness’. It is, after all, his colleagues who thought it amusing to manipulate the prospective union of the two protagonists.

I am grateful to Maj for helping me distinguish between bees and hoverflies.

Today we were visited by both bees

and hoverflies.

Our new wooden bench was delivered this morning. This afternoon we carried it from our back gate to the Rose Garden in order to install it beneath the Agriframes Arbour. We had been pleased that we didn’t have to assemble it with flat-pack “destructions”. There was, however, a downside. The piece was quite heavy and would only just fit into the available space, so, having carted it up there we left it just outside and went back indoors to procrastinate and think about it.

This structure was to replace the smaller, white aluminium, two seater which was the previous occupant of this resting place, and really only suitable for children or small adults.

It was easy enough for me to shift that and to

leave it on the paving leading to single chair occupying the corner beyond the Little Climber rose and the fallen New Dawn.

After wrestling with the new bench we decided that lifting the fallen rose was a bridge too far, and could wait until tomorrow. Jackie relaxed on her pole and we both rested on our laurels and our new purchase,

looking at the view from Absolutely Fabulous through Festive Jewel.

Meanwhile our previous new bench still enables occupants to share the view with Florence sculpture.

Day lilies are blooming all over the garden.

This evening, after drinks sitting on our new bench we dined on our second helpings of yesterday’s Red Chilli takeaway, including the unopened paratha, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the CEO.

A Walk Round The Garden

The sun emerged quite late today. After I had opened the gate for Aaron.

These are a few shots I took on the way there and back. As usual accessing these two galleries with clicks will access titles.

Much of the rest of the day was spent listening to the Ashes Test Match.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken jalfrezi; marvellous mushroom rice topped with a perfect omelette; and a tasty paratha with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian

Happier Behind The Camera

I was grateful today for the overnight thunderstorm and for Jackie’s watering the parts it couldn’t reach early this morning before she and Shelly drove to Helen’s to offer sisterly assistance.

This meant I could concentrate on the dead-heading necessitated by the storm’s stripping of many petals. After more than an hour I retreated indoors with wobbly legs and wringing wet shirt to sit at the computer and apply myself to retouching two more of the images from my mother’s old album.

First I tackled my grandfather from c1926 at Conwy. Judging by the position of his hand I suspect he was holding a cigarette.

This photograph was probably taken in about 1919, before the marriage of my maternal grandparents, Annie and George Henry Hunter, who are the couple on the right.

These two images suggest that my grandfather was, like me, happier behind the camera.

After completing this work I returned to the garden,

where bees were very busy, being particularly partial to swarming over purple alliums and pink hebes.

Red geraniums, white marguerites, and pink hydrangeas produce an attractive bank on the front drive. Jackie is constantly thinning out the daisies so she has sufficient vision to her right when driving out.

A variety of day lilies continue to proliferate.

The last three day lily images are from the Kitchen Bed, also home to lysimachia Firecracker.

Pale pastel blue and white campanula spills over the Shady Path

from where we have views towards the house, and across the Palm Bed, among others.

This clematis Polish Spirit is nearby in the Dragon Bed.

From the stable door we look down the Gazebo path, and back from the agapanthuses coming into bloom in the Palm Bed.

Further garden views are afforded by the Rose Garden and the Phantom Path,

leading to the West Bed with its honesty and lilies.

Some time after Jackie returned home she drove out again for a Hordle Chinese Take Away meal which we enjoyed with Hoegaarden in her case, and more of the Fleurie in mine.

The Stumpery

Jill Weatherholt, in her comment on “The Path To Deadman Hill”, described Jackie’s young robin as a little nugget. His name is now Nugget.

She spent the morning conversing with him whilst tidying the Oval Bed.

After taking the above photographs I wandered round the garden.

Hydrangeas need a lot of water, but the Head Gardener is keeping them going.

Day lilies continue to thrive,

as do many lilies proper,

and, of course, roses like Gertrude Jekyll and Special Anniversary.

This sidalcea leads nicely to the red hydrangea beyond.

Now that the Wedding Day is over, gladiolus and clematis veil its arch.

Dahlia’s time is now.

This everlasting sweet pea has a scent which justifies its name.

Plants accommodated in containers during the last few weeks have proliferated. The iron urn’s examples happily spill and spread, while

the wicker chair by the Westbrook Arbour is occupied to overflowing.

A clematis shawl has been cast over the arch spanning the Phantom Path between the Cryptomeria and Margery’s Beds.

In the latter, yellow Lisymachia Alexander stretches across the gravel;

and at its western end clematis and day lilies cavort with the red bottle brush plant.

Phlox blend nicely with other plants in the Palm Bed,

alongside the Gazebo Path leading to the stable door.

From Charlie Dimmock, Jackie has been inspired to create a “stumpery”. She will clean up the face of this heap of griselinia stumps and give it a fern makeover.

Just as the one o’clock news was about to expand upon Mr Trump’s latest exploits, Malachi phoned me from Fremantle seeking my help with a word search. We were unable to obtain full reciprocal vision on FaceTime, so we began a game of Lexulous instead. Because they are seven hours ahead of us, my grandson had to go to bed before we finished.

Later this afternoon we drove to New Milton to buy some shoes for Jackie, then back to Milford on Sea for a repeat prescription.

This evening we dined at Totton’s excellent The Family House Chinese restaurant, where we enjoyed our favourite set meal and Tsing Tao beer.

Find The Colours

After lunch Matthew and Poppy arrived to spend the weekend with us.

Our granddaughter was keen to explore the garden again. She and Matthew walked around with a list of ten colours of which she was to find representatives. The only one that proved problematic was green.

I imagine there are enough colours in these pictures to cover the game. As usual, clicking on any example in each of the groups will access its gallery with the titles.

This evening we all dined on Forest Tandoori Indian Take Away’s excellent fare. Mat and I enjoyed lamb jalfrezi; Jackie’s choice was chicken shashlik; Poppy picked at a paratha. We shared various rices, a paratha, and onion bahjis. I drank Tsing Tao beer, and Jackie and Mathew chose Blue Moon.

P.S. As Jackie has so kindly informed me, the yucca is a phormium, so I have changed the title.

Preparing For Departure

Having been picked up by Shelly, Jackie left today just after noon for three days away with her sisters.

In her efforts to ensure I would be well catered for, the Culinary Queen packed the fridge with cooked meals and salad lunch materials. The plate on the fourth shelf down contains the lunch I enjoyed after the ladies had left.

A Post It note was stuck on my computer screen in case I needed help in informing the world what I had eaten for my dinner.

Concentrating on containers and the patio area, we were both on watering duties this morning. I irrigated the front garden this afternoon.

Later on I repaired to the Rose Garden with a book.

The rich peachy pink of Mama Mia

towers above a sweep of lavender,

among which I watched flit a butterfly I cannot identify. (In his comment below, TanGental has confirmed that it is a Hedge Brown)

Creme de la Creme

and Special Anniversary are comparatively new blooms;

Hawkshead fuchsia swings towards a spent Winchester Cathedral.

Crisp peach coloured Just Joey has put in an appearance.

Petunias and cosmos are planted in the urn behind

Love Knot, which remains prolific.

Elsewhere, day lilies proliferate.

Petunias and geraniums thrive on the earlier watering, from which Erigeron and lobelias collect the drips.

As the yellow bottle brush plants fade, the red ones are beginning to bloom.

Petunias, geraniums, and others along the Kitchen Path to the greenhouse are looking refreshed enough.

Here we have views from the Gazebo in each direction along its eponymous path.

This evening I dined on Jackie’s succulent beef braised in red wine with mushrooms and peppers; creamy mashed potatoes and tender spring greens.

Before The Storm

Threatened with a thunderstorm, after two lengthy dead-heading sessions, I wandered around the garden while Jackie continued with her general tidying and maintenance work.

The blooms in these images of the Rose Garden and the bed at its entrance are identified in the titles of the galleries, each of which can be accessed by a click.

The Shady Path runs between the Dragon the the Palm Beds. The kniphofia and fuchsia occupy the Dragon Bed. The poppies are volunteers having forced their way through the gravel.

Day lilies, sweet Williams, lobelia, more poppies, and geranium palmatums are found in the section of the Dragon Bed alongside the greenhouse.

Day lilies, fuchsia Delta’s Sarah, geraniums, and clematis Marie Boisselot all make their contributions to the Kitchen Bed.

Supported by the Gothic Arch, Wedding Day now flowers above the Brick Path.

More day lilies and a fuchsia thrive in what we now call the Grass Bed.

Here are the current views down the Phantom Path;

from the Concrete Patio to the Oval Bed;

and over the stepping stones in the Cryptomeria Bed through to Margery’s Bed.

By early evening the skies were oppressively leaden, but the storm had held off when we drove into the forest.

On Undershore,

Gilpins is blessed with a quite magnificent cornus, which arlingwoman, below, has identified as Kausa.

On a particularly dark section of Church Lane a trainee rider loomed up out of the murk ahead of us.

Further on a deer dashed out of the light into the dark.

As we arrived at Tanners Lane a pair of kayakers were coming in to land.

There was a distinct dearth of donkeys, ponies and other wildlife in all the spots where we would expect to see them. We came to the conclusion that they had tuned in to the weather forecast and were lying low.

This evening we dined on perfect pork chops; crisp roast potatoes; crunchy carrots; tender green beans; and tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Squinzano Reserva 2014.

I Held One Back

Last night I finished reading:

One of Trollope’s shorter works, this deals with familiar themes concerning the status of women; socio-economic inequalities; intrigue and romantic entanglements. It is a tragic love story breaching differences in fortune, in social class, in geography, and in religion. As usual the prose flows along smoothly to the tale’s surprising, if inevitable, conclusion.

Given that the action takes place alternately in England and Ireland, the choice of the sensitive, and insightful Irish novelist and poet, Maeve Binchy to write the excellent introduction was most apt.

The generous quantity of Elisa Trimby’s drawings are faithful to the text. In particular she manages effectively to convey the emotions of her subjects. I was impressed with the appropriate flattening of perspective enabling her to depict a good depth of field.

In order not to give away the dénouement I have held back the last of the illustrations.

Much of this morning was devoid of Internet connection, which rather delayed my drafting of this review; and my listening to the England v. Sri Lanka men’s World Cup Cricket match.

In order to calm my nerves took a stroll round the garden.

The first two images of these day lilies are of those purchased from https://www.polliesdaylilies.co.uk which, containing our national collection, is situated very near to us.

These penstemons adorn Margery’s Bed.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb sausages in red wine; crisp new potatoes, carrots, and broccoli, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Pinot Noir.